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4.3. Considerations on clan support

Last updated: June 2022


The following judgment is of particular importance for the assessment on the support provided by clans in Somalia in relation to Article 7 QD:


The CJEU found that: ‘In accordance with the requirements described in paragraphs 38 and 43 to 46 of the present judgment, any such protection in terms of security cannot, in any event, be taken into account in order to ascertain whether State protection meets the requirements that arise, in particular, from Article 7(2) of that directive.


Article 11(1)(e) of Directive 2004/83, read together with Article 7(2) of that directive, must be interpreted as meaning that any social and financial support provided by private actors, such as the family or the clan of a third country national concerned, falls short of what is required under those provisions to constitute protection and is, therefore, of no relevance either to the assessment of the effectiveness or availability of the protection provided by the State within the meaning of Article 7(1)(a) of that directive, or to the determination, under Article 11(1)(e) of that directive, read together with Article 2(c) thereof, of whether there continues to be a well-founded fear of persecution.

Most Somalis rely on support from patrilineal clan relatives [Targeting, 4]. Clans can provide different forms of support for their members. Inside the jilib, community must help individuals in case of smaller or larger problems, reaching as far as the mutilation or the murder of someone from another clan (blood price) [Actors, 3.2.1]. Arrangements can also be made between clans for protection outside the clan [Actors, 3.2.2].

Under the xeer system, clan elders act as mediators or arbiters, and play a central role in the resolution of local and intra-clan disputes [Actors, 2.3.2].

For information with regard to support provided by clans, see The role of clans in Somalia. For more information on the xeer system, see profile 2.8 Individuals accused of crimes in Somalia and The Somali State under chapter Actors of protection.

The support provided by clans in Somalia cannot be considered as meeting the requirements of Article 7 QD.


[22] CJEU, OA v Secretary of State for the Home Department, C-255/19, Second Chamber, judgment of 20 February 2021 (OA).